Even though there has been a rise in confidence in the building sector, there is still a growing concern for the non-residential sector.

Even though there has been a positive rise in confidence in the building sector, the Executive Director of Master Builders South Africa (MBSA), Tumi Dlamini, warns that the non-residential sector is still a major cause for alarm.

MBSA has welcomed the slightly more positive outlook reflected in the latest FNB/Bureau for Economic Research Building Confidence Index – but is still extremely concerned about the pedestrian rate of building activities throughout the country and its effects on job creation.

According to Tumi, MBSA welcomed the findings of the FNB/BER Building Confidence Index for the third quarter of the year. After having fallen by 11 index points to 41 in the second quarter of 2014, the latest index recovered to 45, largely due to a sharp recovery in residential building activity which the authors of the index said had “boosted the confidence of main contractors and also resulted in increased retail and manufacturing sales”.

“MBSA notes with concern that the Confidence Index remains well below the 50 index point mark – a key target that to us will signify a potentially sustainable positive outlook,” highlights Tumi. “While MBSA welcomes any slight positive changes as indicated, the building industry remains heavily apprehensive at the alarming pedestrian rate of building activities in South Africa – particularly in the non-residential sector. Until we see a significant upswing, the industry’s potential to create and maintain increased levels of employment will simply not be achievable.”

She adds that the findings of the Index had come as a welcome reprieve for the building sector after a highly challenging first part of 2014, characterised by huge building project delays caused by the steel and metal workers’ strike.

Tumi concludes that, given the current trading conditions in the building industry, MBSA hopes that the slight upsurge in confidence in the FNB/BER Index would not merely be a temporary reprieve but that the industry would now continue to see further growth going into 2015.